Was God’s punishment that Zechariah became dumb? According to verse 6, Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous and obedient to God’s laws. Moreover, Zechariah asks the angel a very reasonable doubt; ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.’ Mary asks the angel the same question, Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have no husband?’ (Luke 1:34). Will God show partiality? To understand this, we must read the words of Mary and Zechariah carefully. Zechariah asksthe angel, how do I know your words are true? He does not believe the words of the angel. He has been praying for a child for years but is getting frustrated when he doesn’t get it. He sees the impossibilities before him. His faith was eroded. God might have thought that a period of silence is needed to regain this faith. In the days when he was dumb, could probably meditate on the words of the angel. That is why when the relatives asked him as to what name they should give to the child, he broke his silence proclaimed his name was John, which means God is merciful. In the depths of this silence he was able to understand the great mercy of God that he had experienced and to realize that nothing is impossible for God.
Now look at the words of Mary. Her question is also similar, how this can happen. Her attitude is that if it is God’s will to get pregnant without knowing the man, then I am ready for it. Her question is based on her belief that everything is possible with God.
Believe and then know; This is what this passage tells us. The truths of faith revealed by God are beyond our comprehension. But when we submit to God’s will and see them with the eyes of faith, our hearts will be opened to understand them. “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).